In a statement issued to coincide with the United Nations’ review of Tonga’s human rights record, the UK encouraged Tonga to establish a National Human Rights Institution in compliance with the Paris Principles.
It said Tonga should take the following steps:
- Ratify key International Labour Organisation conventions
- Ratify the International Labour Organization’s Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999.
- Ratify and implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- Adopt an open, merit-based process when selecting national candidates for UN Treaty Body elections.
“The UK welcomes the positive steps taken by Tonga since the last review, particularly the implementation of reforms to advance democracy,” the statement said.
“We also welcome Tonga’s national efforts to promote female candidates in national elections and subsequent increase in female MPs. However, female participation in Tongan politics remains low and we encourage Tonga to further promote the inclusion of women in politics.
“The UK remains concerned that Tongan legislation continues to criminalise consensual same sex-conduct. It is encouraging that there have been no recent prosecutions under this legislation, however, we would urge Tonga to repeal all such provisions and ensure anti-discrimination laws also cover sexual orientation.”
As Kaniva News reported recently, Tonga’s human rights record is being examined in Geneva this week.
All UN member states are subject to periodic review.
This will be third time the kingdom’s human rights record has been studied since 2008.
Tonga is being represented at the review by the Solicitor General, Sione Sisifa.